- November 20, 2008
- Posted by: EARSC
- Category: EARSC News
Romania will play host, November 19-20, to the 5th annual plenary session of the Group on Earth Observation (GEO), to be organised by the Romanian Space Agency and the National Authority for Scientific Research.
Nearly 300 officials from the Group on Earth Observations’ member governments and organisations will meet here to plan the next three-year phase in the construction of a new global monitoring network that will support science-based decision-making about environmental risks and opportunities.
In a press release posted on its website, the National Authority for Scientific Research informs that the Global Earth Observation System of Systems, or GEOSS, is linking together the world’s diverse monitoring networks, instruments, data bases, models and other decision-support tools into one fully coordinated “system of systems”.
By integrating data from ocean buoys, weather stations, satellites, seismic monitors and innumerable other technologies, GEOSS will empower decision-makers to address climate change, biodiversity loss, water shortages, disease epidemics, natural disasters and other critical global challenges.
The GEO annual plenary (GEO-V) in Bucharest aims to finalise and adopt the 2009-2011 work plan for constructing GEOSS. GEO members are contributing to this voluntary global project by expanding and interlinking their respective observation systems. The proposed new work plan aims to take GEOSS from its start-up phase to the implementation phase that will actually put the components of GEOSS into place.
Among the key elements of the draft work plan are establishing the GEO Portal – the “GEOSS Common Infrastructure” consists of web-based portals, clearinghouses for searching data, information and services, and registries containing information about GEOSS; promoting free access to data – GEOSS can only succeed if Earth observation data is widely and freely available to all interested users; GEO is building an international consensus that will make it possible to adopt the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles at a Ministerial Summit in 2010; advancing the GEO Biodiversity Observation Network – the Bucharest meeting will be presented with an implementation plan for making a biodiversity observation network (GEO BON) a reality, and building a system for monitoring forest carbon.
According to GEO, GEO is building the Global Earth Observation System of Systems on the basis of a 10-Year Implementation Plan, which runs through the year 2015.
GEOSS addresses nine priorities of critical importance to the future of the human race: it will help countries to protect themselves against natural and human-induced disasters, understand the environmental sources of health hazards, manage energy resources, respond to climate change and its impacts, safeguard freshwater resources, improve weather forecasts, manage ecosystems, promote sustainable agriculture, and conserve biodiversity.
The Group on Earth Observations was established in 2005 after the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries (G8) and three ministerial Earth Observation Summits all called for improving existing observation systems. Its membership now includes 75 governments and the European Commission; 51 “participating organizations” also contribute to its work.